New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed
the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) not to open
the bids of the Hyderabad-based firm Madhucon projects for
four-laning of 163 Km stretch in Jharkhand.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph said
that the bid submitted by Madhucon projects would be kept in a
sealed cover before the Delhi High court, which is presently
hearing the dispute.
In an interim order on December 20, the High Court had
directed NHAI to open the price bids of Madhucon project and
process the contracts.
The apex court, however, upheld the order of the High
Court on not awarding the contract to any bidder until the
dispute on the tender is disposed of.
The Supreme Court`s direction came over a petition filed
by Nagarjuna Construction owned NCC Infrastructure Holdings,
challenging the High Court order.
NCC Infrastructure Holdings and Madhucon projects are in
dispute for 4-lanning of 163 Km stretch between Ranchi to
Jamshedpur under the NHDP, Phase III, on design,build,
finance, operate and transfer mode.
NCC has contended that Madhucon bid was "non-responsive"
as it had filed invalid power of attorney.
NCC has submitted that the High Court had tried to "push
a disqualified into the ring". It further claimed that the
award was made in favour of NCC and after the process, the
court has tried to push a new player into the fray.
However, it was opposed by Madhucon, who submitted that
no award was made and NCC was just lower bidder in the
project. It further submitted that this was done by the high
court keeping in mind that the project must take-off and time
should be saved.